Monday, May 02, 2016

Masdevallia strobelii

One of the orchids I got at the Portland orchid show a couple weeks ago is blooming!  I can't take credit for the flowers, since it came in bud, but I can take credit for keeping the plant happy enough that it kept the buds going!

Masdevallia strobelii

This is Masdevallia strobelii, native to Ecuador. It's a miniature species, with the leaves only standing about 3 inches tall.

Masdevallia strobelii

The flowers are carried slightly above the leaves, and are beautiful.  The triangular tubular body of the flower (formed by the sepals) is about an inch long, with three "tails" that span three inches.

Masdevallia strobelii

The interior faces of the sepals are covered with glistening hairs, which are sparkly in the sun.  And as a bonus, it's very sweetly fragrant!

Masdevallia strobelii

It came with four buds, of which two are now open.  It seems very happy on my kitchen windowsill, and I look forward to watching this one grow.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Red Pearl amaryllis

My seventh amaryllis to open this year is Red Pearl.  And yay! It's not mislabeled!

I could tell from the bud that it was going to be the deep red that it was supposed to be.  Ah, anticipation...

Red Pearl amaryllis bud, almost ready to pop!

I was not disappointed.

Red Pearl amaryllis

So pretty!

Red Pearl amaryllis

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dancing Queen, round two

The second scape on my Dancing Queen amaryllis fully opened yesterday, and it's just as pretty as the first round.  This is such a glorious flower, and there is still a third scape to come!

Second scape of Dancing Queen amaryllis

When I posted about this bulb when the first scape opened, I mistakenly called it Aphrodite.  That was a reasonable thing to do, since Aphrodite was what I ordered.  However, after browsing pictures online, I realized that this was yet another mislabeled bulb.  It's actually Dancing Queen.  Aphrodite is similar but not as vibrant.

Doesn't matter to me, I really like it and didn't have one already.  But I wish the bulb growers and/or middle men and/or resellers would get their acts together and stop mixing up the varieties. Four of the six that have bloomed so far this year have been mislabels.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dragon explosion

Yesterday, Critter shed his skin for the first time since coming to live with us.

Critter's first shed with us.

It was hilarious.  I walked in and there were pieces of skin all over his tank, his  back was peeling off, he looked like he had a tutu, and he was rubbing his face on the bark of his half-log cave.

He looked ridiculous.

Critter's first shed with us.

He just looked at me like "What? Why you laugh? I'm still cute!  Gimme bugs!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Portland Orchid Show

I had a Grand Adventure this past weekend- I went to Portland to go to an orchid show!

Not only that, I went by myself! And not only that, I didn't have to drive in the city!  I parked in Gresham and took the train in!  I am NOT a city person, and this was a big scary thing for me to do- a country mouse negotiating public transportation.  But I did it and it was painless and easy and fun!  So much less stressful than driving on the surface streets downtown.

The orchid show was great, though smaller that I was expecting.  Only two show tables and a dozen or so vendors.  I went to a couple shows in North Carolina years and years ago that were much bigger, so that sort of set my expectation I guess.  Still, there were lots of great plants and I got to see some blooms in person that I haven't seen before.

I managed to get away without too much damage to my bank account.  I had set a budget beforehand, and stuck to it.  Then, too, there was the issue of carrying whatever I bought back on the train, so I was limited to the tote that I brought. I brought only one tote on purpose...

Portland Orchid Show purchases

This is me waiting to get on a bus.  Yes, I not only rode the train, I changed my plans after lunch and decided to go to a pet store on the other side of the city (to get calcium powder for Critter), and to get there I had to take a bus.  The bus line connected to the train line, so I just got off the Blue train, walked a block to the bus stop, and waited for the 75 south bus.  Easy peasy.

Everyone who is a seasoned public transportation rider can stop laughing at me now.  I was very excited about this.  You pay $5 in the morning to get a ticket, then you can ride all over the city all day on buses, trains, and streetcars, all on that same ticket.  They drive you around! You don't have to keep track of which streets are one-way, or where you can park, or anything!  They do it all for you!

Ahem.  Anyway.  It was really fun.

So here's what I got:

Portland Orchid Show purchases

Three of these are not for me.  The big one in the back on the right, plus the two smaller ones directly in front of that one were for coworkers who decided that they wanted orchids too.  I only got eight plants for myself.  Left to right and counterclockwise starting from the tall one in the back left corner, they are Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance' (which smells like chocolate!), Aerangis distincta, Angraecum equitans, Lepanthes calodictyon, Pleurothallis grobyii small form, Masdevallia strobelii big form, Masdevallia strobelii small form, and Paphiopedilum Oriental Spring.

I think of all the ones I got, the Lepanthes calodictyon is the coolest.  It's a miniature, and has awesome foliage.  It's not in bloom right now, but the tiny flowers will be carried on the little stalks protruding from the middle of each leaf.

Lepanthes calodictyon

Then on the way back at the end of the day, I stopped in at the hardware store that was conveniently right next to the train stop. I was lured in by their display of house plants in the window.  Just to browse, you understand, but I did still have a little cash left in my plant budget envelope.  So this cactus had to come home with me.  It was only $2.50, and so pretty.

Parodia werneri (Notocactus uebelmannianus)

This is Parodia werneri (formerly Notocactus uebelmannianus).  The plant itself is about two inches in diameter, each flower is an inch and a half in diameter, and I like it because the spines are very tidy and flat.  I'll actually be able to repot it without puncturing myself.

Parodia werneri (Notocactus uebelmannianus)

Plus, so pretty!  There are five more flower buds developing, in addition to the two that are open.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Critter's first outing

It was a lovely sunny day today, and in between taking care of yard chores and laundry, Emma and I took Critter for his first outing to the back yard.

But first I had to mow the lawn so we wouldn't lose him, and Emma had to pick some dandelions before I mowed. There were plenty (ha!) for a crown and a bouquet.

Dandelion princess

After the grass was back to a manageable height, we brought Critter out.  So many new things to see!

Critter enjoying the sun

Emma made him a dandelion chain too.

Enjoying the sun

Surveying his domain...

Critter enjoying the sun, with a dandelion chain

Lots of new things to see, and he especially had to keep a close eye on all the birds flying overhead.

Critter enjoying the sun

We had some quality Vitamin D time together.

Snooze in the sun

Thursday, April 14, 2016

An unexpected amaryllis

My sixth amaryllis of the season opened yesterday, and yet again, is is a mislabeled bulb.  But it is very, very pretty!

Amaryllis 'Flair'

Actually, it has been mislabeled twice.  This was the bulb I had marked as Red Lion 2014. I thought it had bloomed for me before (which is why I labeled it Red Lion) but apparently not, because I've never seen this flower before.

I bought this expecting it was Apple Blossom (the 2014 expected-Minerva turned out to be Red Lion).  Since it is clearly not Apple Blossom, the bulb company did the first mislabel.  Evidently it didn't bloom for me in 2014 or 2015, and when I finally got around to sticking labels in my pots this year, I assumed that it was Red Lion, not realizing that it hadn't bloomed yet. So I mislabeled it too.  (But let's face it, Red Lion is a pretty good assumption for any of the mass marketed box bulbs until you actually see it bloom.)

It was a really nice surprise when it opened!  It's a lovely peachy-salmon color, and I'm pretty sure it's the variety named Flair. This is a less-common variety, and one of the few in the peach color range.  I'm very happy with it!

Amaryllis 'Flair'